A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are applying quantum computing principals to high-precision measurement. Using single electrons encased in a diamond crystal, the team is making strides in the development of a nanoscale magnetic imager.
The research is led by Gurudev Dutt, assistant professor in Pitt's Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The work appears in the online journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Traditional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques don't work well at the nanoscale, so to investigate single molecules or groups of molecules inside cells, a new instrument must be built to accommodate such high-precision work," said Dutt.
Dutt’s team is using quantum computing methods to circumvent MRI’s hardware limitation to view the entire magnetic field. By extending the field, researchers have improved the ratio between maximum detectable field strength and field precision by a factor of 10. The work puts them one step closer toward a future nanoscale MRI instrument that could study properties of molecules, materials, and cells in a noninvasive way.